A 37-year-old man the FBI once deemed one of the most dangerous people in Washington D.C. has been sentenced to 22 years in a federal penitentiary. U.S. Attorneys expressed their satisfaction that the defendant will no longer be free to traffic in narcotics in Maryland and the District.
The 37-year-old was arrested in Takoma Park after an officer believed he was carrying an open container of alcohol. During a subsequent pursuit, witnesses allege he threw away a plastic bag that investigators later determined contained cocaine. A search of his apartment revealed the alleged presence of narcotics; however, the defendant has previously stated that police had planted the drugs in his apartment to entrap him.
Someone charged with a drug crime in Maryland can face serious penalties if they are convicted. The charges may also be aggravated if the prosecution alleges that the defendant engaged in trafficking or committed other crimes tertiary to drug possession. In order to successfully prosecute someone of a drug offense, the prosecution must guarantee that certain constitutional restrictions were adhered to. For instance, evidence obtained by illegal search and seizure may be inadmissible in court.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that anyone accused of a crime has the right to an attorney. It's possible for an experienced defense attorney to negotiate for their client to receive a reduced sentence, thereby avoiding imprisonment or large fines. Clients with a history of drug addiction may sometimes be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, which would certainly be a preferable alternative. In essence, there is no single established procedure for distributing a criminal sentence. People accused of drug crimes may hire an attorney to argue that extenuating factors and outside circumstances merit a more nuanced approach to their client's alleged offense.
Source: The Washington Post Local, "'Teflon Defendant' gets more than 22 years on drug and gun charges", Ann E. Marimow, May 30, 2013